Home > Education, India 2012 > Great Communicators, Great Food

Great Communicators, Great Food


This is Maya Menon, the founder and director of The Teacher Foundation. She and her staff are serving as our hosts and teachers here in Bangalore. Today’s program included excellent presentations about the history, culture, and educational system in India. In most people’s hands, I think these enormous topics would end up a total jumble. We were fortunate to have gifted and patient presenters, though. In the morning, an economist and journalist named Narendra Pani spoke about the interplay of modernity and traditionalism in the last century. To give one example: the Western influenced, modernist approach to understanding the world tends to revolve around a core theory (e.g. capitalism, communism), whereas the traditional approach rejects a grand theory to evaluate individual actions. This can lead to inconsistency, but as Gandhi put it, there can be “wise inconsistency.” Dr. Pani presented the view that, much as India reveres Gandhi personally, it has not followed his path. The Constitution does not reflect his approach, and neither do the dominant political leaders or parties. (Surprisingly, Sonia Gandhi, the Italian widow of Rajiv, is the exception).

After lunch, Maya Menon spoke about the prevalence of rote learning in Indian schools, the role of the country’s many languages, and the challenges of implementing large scale reforms that have recently been mandated. I’m starting to run out of steam, so I’ll not try to summarize her talk at the moment.

Instead, I’ll include a picture of the delicious dinner we had tonight. We all sat at a long table while waiters came around and served each of these dishes in small quantities to each of us. It was fun to try so many foods–and a pleasure not to have to order from a menu of entirely unknown dishes.



Categories: Education, India 2012
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